by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Today, I’m going to vent a little and tell you what disturbs me about airgunning.

This began with a letter I received. The writer spent two pages telling me why the Crosman M4-177 is not a good airgun and how unfair it is that it costs so much.

Yep! Apparently it’s unfair because it takes 10 pump strokes to pump the rifle completely, so for 15 shots he has to pump 150 times.

HUH? So what?

Well, according to the writer, that’s unfair, because, when you add sales tax to the price of a new M4-177, it comes to almost $100, which is a lot to pay for something that requires so much work.

Boy, am I glad I minored in psychology, because what this writer said in his letter had very little to do with what he really wanted to say.

He was angry because he had made a bad choice and didn’t like what he bought. And he didn’t want to be responsible for it. I normally associate this kind of behavior with younger people who don’t have that much experience and still think that life is supposed to be “fair.” But the man who wrote this letter is over 60 years old and tells me he has been forced to buy inexpensive airguns because he now lives on a very limited budget.

Okay, there is nothing I can do for this person. He doesn’t read the blog, so even if I try to tell him about a certain airgun’s characteristics, he isn’t going to see it. But he sure as heck knows where to complain when his life takes a bad turn!

Worst of all — I still have to answer this guy’s letter. He has asked me to explain to Crosman what a dismal failure their rifle is, but I don’t know how to do that when they are working two shifts a day just to keep up with the demand.

Too old for computers
Then there’s the guy (again, it’s a man) who tells me that he’s too old to use computers, but boy would he ever like to find such-and-such an airgun that he remembers from his youth. I tell him that these vintage airguns are as common on internet sales sites as the leaves on a tree, but Mr. Won’t-Look-At-Computers can’t be bothered to look up, can he? Oh, no! Better to walk around complaining while staring at the ground, because the light’s better down there!

Mr. Macho!
Here comes the guy who has read several times in this blog where I say that magnum gas spring rifles are too hard to cock. So he goes out of his way to meet me at an airgun show, just to show me what a bodybuilder he is. He ain’t afraid of no gas spring — no sirree!

Three years later I meet him again and he apparently doesn’t remember our previous encounter, because now he tells me he’s into PCPs and lower-powered spring rifles like the Bronco and the vintage Diana 27. He tells me what wonderful things these low-powered spring guns are — they’re light, easy to cock, very accurate, quiet and they don’t require a lot of special handling technique to shoot well. Oh, my! I wish I had told him that to begin with (I’m being sarcastic, so please read it that way).

Please agree with me
I get airgun “questions” that aren’t really questions at all. They are manifestos that I’m supposed to agree with so the writer can tell the world that Tom Gaylord is on his side. He wants to run his .177-caliber Condor on helium with a tethered (never disconnected) tank, so he can dial up the velocity of a 6-grain pellet to 1,800 f.p.s., because that way the pellet would never drop in flight and he would be able to shoot something very far away without worrying how much the pellet drops.

If that was true, it would be wonderful; but even a .17 HM2 that starts a 17-grain bullet out at 2,100 f.p.s. eventually drops. You do have to take range into account. And the lighter the projectile, the lower the ballistic coefficient and the sooner the projectile will begin to drop.

What I’m saying is that Mr. Wizard hasn’t thought the whole thing through. He’s fixated on one parameter — velocity — and, as far as he’s concerned, that’s all that matters. He’s to real science as Diane Feinstein is to assault rifles — anything with a pistol grip is evil and velocity is the only thing that matters!

He knows not what he asks
Finally — and I’m stopping here because I’m getting real angry as I write this blog — I get a question that reads as follows: “I have a chance to go bear hunting with some friends. They’ll be using real guns, but I want to use an airgun. We will be flying to a base camp on Kodiak Island and then riding horses to the hunting area. I want to know whether I should choose a Sam Yang Big Bore 909S in .45 caliber or would a Benjamin Rogue work better? I’m leaning toward the Rogue because it holds 6 bullets and Kodiak bears are known to charge when the’ve been shot. The biggest real gun my friends have is a .338 Winchester Magnum, so both of these airguns are larger. What do you think?”

I think you had better get your affairs in order before you leave. Fortunately, I know your guide will stop you from doing what you propose, but who will stop the guy in Seattle who thinks a Walther CP99 would make a wonderful defense gun because it looks so intimidating and you can buy one without any paperwork? He’s serious, because to him this CO2 pistol looks like the real deal. But when the bad people come and he’s holding a pellet pistol, they aren’t going to laugh. Nor will he, if he lives through it.

Preaching to the choir
I know my blog readers aren’t the people I’m talking about. And those people will never read this blog, so I have no way of communicating with them until they decide to contact me for approval of their plans. But I have to tell someone something, so you got the duty.

By the way — in case you think things like this don’t happen, know that Edith is our editor and allowed this to get through. She knows, because she’s seen it all, too.

I feel better now.